Palm Springs just screams family vacation destination with its gorgeous desert scenery and bold pops of colour. Yes, it’s a destination loved by trendy fashionistas for its mid-century modern aesthetic and hip hotels and restaurants, but it’s a great spot for vacationing families, too! Read on for our top ten picks for what to do with kids in Palm Springs.
1. Feed giraffes
At the Living Desert, a non-profit zoo and gardens whose mission focuses on desert conservation, kids can get up close and personal with the giraffes by hand feeding them one of their favourite snacks! Be sure to check the zoo’s daily schedule for giraffe feeding times.
2. See roadside dinosaurs
The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a kitschy, surreal roadside attraction where kids can marvel at over 50 life-size dinosaurs in the desert. Plus, they can dig for dinos, pan for fossils and climb the T-Rex all the way to top. Stop here for the perfect dose of Americana on a summer road trip.
3. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
View the gorgeous Chino Canyon cliffs from above in the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The tram cars slowly rotate for 360-degree views during the 2.5-mile journey. Once you reach the Mountain Station, take in the view from the observation decks, dine at one of two restaurants, check out the natural history museum or go for a hike on one of the trails.
4. Spend a day at the water park
It doesn’t get much better than a day spent at the water park. Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs has slides and rides for kids of all ages. Family rides include a giant wave pool, as well as a surfing simulator. You can even kick back and relax while floating down the lazy river.
5. Hit the park
Take advantage of gorgeous green spaces with an afternoon at one of Palm Spring’s public parks. Ruth Hardy Park has a popular playground, plus plenty of picnic tables perfect for an al fresco meal.
6. Dine in style
You don’t have to sacrifice style and flavour when dining out with kids. There are plenty of trendy spots around Palm Springs offering tasty food in a kid-friendly environment. King’s Highway, in the Ace Hotel, serves upscale diner dishes with a Tex-Mex twist for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, they offer a poolside menu for anyone going for a dip at the Ace Hotel’s Swim Club.
7. Palm Springs Air Museum
Any kid fascinated with airplanes will adore a day spent at the Palm Springs Air Museum. The highly interactive museum eschews ropes in favour of a more tactile experience. The museum is pet friendly and has a kid-sized control tower and flight simulator. If you’re looking for an unforgettable, splurge-worthy experience, you can even fly in one of the museum’s WWII aircraft.
8. Visit an iconic national park
It’s a bit outside of Palm Springs, but Joshua Tree National Park is well worth the drive. Surreal rock formations and the park’s namesake Joshua trees are spread out over the Mojave and Colorado deserts. For a unique experience, visit the park at night and try to find as many constellations as you can. The park area has almost no light pollution.
9. Get creative at the Children’s Museum
The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert has tons of interactive exhibits and activities to keep your kids engaged and entertained, all while learning something new. Current exhibits encourage kids to learn about movement and momentum when they build their own rollercoaster or they can put their artistic skills to work contributing to a community loom weaving project.
10. Hit the mini golf course
Head to Boomers Palm Springs for a fun family game of mini golf. Boomers also has go-karts, batting cages, bumper boats and a rock climbing wall for a day filled with fun activities. And trust us if it’s been a while since you’ve gone mini golfing or bumper boating, it’s just as much fun for adults as it is for kids.